The best way to learn it is from our work and others

The best way to learn it is from our work and others

Ever heard of the Ebbinghaus curve? Ebbinghaus’s research shows that in just one hour we forget 50% of what we learn if we don't keep practising. That alone suggests that employees should be trained as much as possible during their work. But there are other reasons for doing this.

Most learning processes focus on improving ‘behaviour’ or ‘performance’. Knowledge, attitude and skills are important parts of that process. But the way work processes have been configured, the working environment, good colleagues and a stimulating corporate culture also play a role.


When you take a close look at the 70:20:10 rule, you can see that you actually learn most from the work itself and through colleagues and the social networks. In short, the rule comes down to the following: you learn 70% by doing, 20% through others, conversations and the networks and 10% through traditional interventions, such as e-learning. Oddly enough, the training budget of many organisations is not consistent with this development. That’s because the budget largely goes through traditional channels that support the 10%.

The godfather of the 70:20:10 philosophy is the American Charles Jennings. In the following video, he explains the idea behind it.

Watch the video

The new way of learning

We’re ready for the ‘new way of learning’. You could compare it to the new way of working. It has radically changed the organisation, processes, buildings, tools, roles and responsibilities. Individual employees now have more and more control over their own performances. They decide more often where, when, how, with whom and with which result they do their jobs. Only then can they keep up in a world that is changing faster and faster.

The learning centre

So give learning employees a central role and responsibility for their own learning performance. With the right support and technical resources, they can independently decide where and when they can improve their ‘performances’, how they want to do that, what they need to do that and how they can stay on course. They can assess their own learning results and the ensuing work results and adjust them, where necessary.

Employees learn the most when the focus is on them and they must take control. Then learning has the maximum effect on their performances and they can also inspire and support others.

Managing on the basis of performance

One important question with 70:20:10 is whether employees can exercise control over their own learning. Sometimes they can, but often they can’t. You must have a clear understanding of your own performance, targets and future changes, and you must be able to plan and reflect. Only then do you know whether the learning process leads to the right results.

Employees then need the organisation to provide them with space and supervision. A good coach is essential. By asking the right questions, you help learning employees to take control and you supervise the learning process.

Performance support

There’s an increasing demand for performance support: help while you work. That saves time and money, is efficient for your brain and contributes directly to the operating result. But when is performance support more than a search function? What if you not only find the information quickly but also learn from it straight away?

Go to the theme page Performance Support.

Which questions does the coach ask?

  • Why?

    How is my performance? Determine the baseline situation. Where can I improve? How can I be successful?

  • How?

    How do I tackle that? Determine the learning strategy.

  • What?

    Which resources do I have to do that? How can I use them? How do I plan it in my own situation (time x place)? How do I keep myself on course?

  • Effect?

    How do I measure and assess my progress? How can I do it better?

Key Growth Indicators

During the process, the coach can help gain a sufficient understanding of the quality and effectiveness of the learning process itself. You can measure that effectiveness using KGIs (Key Growth Indicators) or learning success parameters. Such as the extent or speed at which knowledge or skills are growing, the number of learning moments and their intensity, the extent to which people ‘ask, share and support’ or the amount of content they create. These types of parameters provide valuable information about progress and about the need for support and guidance. Here it is essential to collect data for these parameters in the learning environment.

Chosen channel

The moment we give control to the workers, they themselves must be able to choose how they want to learn. This means that we will have to adapt our range of learning resources and support to them. The main focus is on personal needs. On that basis, you must examine which learning channel is the most compatible with the specific learning moment, the time and the place. Terms such as ‘blended’ and ‘multi channel’, ‘mobile’ and ‘social’ adopt a different meaning or significance. E-learning in the classic sense is no longer consistent with this new learning. If people can determine their times and channels themselves, it is important that you offer smaller units of learning material. And that you only ask people to learn when it is actually necessary. That way, it has an immediate effect.

Learning from others

It is important that people learn as much as possible in their own work. This also means that coaching and supervision must mainly take place in and around the work. Perhaps coaching could be done virtually. But don’t underestimate the role of ‘meaningful others’. As part of the 70:20:10 philosophy, colleagues, social networks and supervisors are crucial for the success of a learning process.

Missed opportunity

TinQwise thinks along with you about the entire learning process. We examine how behavioural change and behavioural confirmation can be brought about in the longer term. Together we examine the best way to use different media and working methods to support a behavioural change in the organisational culture. Then you can come up with surprising solutions. 

Daring to trust

People who want to improve their performances must adapt not only their learning processes, but also their organisation. We’re learning to no longer operate top-down on the basis of a single source. Information and inspiration come from the entire organisation and from outside. Organisations that use a wiki, forums, social networks and crowdsourcing have more committed people and more power to innovate. Dare to trust people and don’t be afraid of the reality outside your own organisation. Thanks to new technologies, people are managing their own learning process, sharing more, contributing more actively to their own learning process and that of others and learning faster. Technology is making the new learning possible. But then we first have to get rid of people’s outdated ideas about education.

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